Slow Wifi in a fast plane has never been a favourite for passengers. However, that is all about to change as technology has been updated so that people can surf the internet as if they were on the ground! Satellite technology has improved services for airlines as the public makes demands for wifi on flights.
Honeywell Aerospace and Gogo (based in the United States) which gives inflight connectivity systems to airlines, are joining forces with Inmarsat (satellite company) to implement the “first global high-speed broadband for the skies” nicknamed the Global Xpress (GX) Aviation network.
The president of Honeywell Aerospace Asia Pacific, Briand Greer, stated that over the next 20 years, inflight wifi could make $2.8 billion for their company. He guesses that possibly seven to eight percent of airlines offer wifi at this current time but he expects this number to increase to 25% by 2018.
Due to poor signal and slow wifi in the past, airlines never bothered with inflight wifi but since download speeds are currently up to 50 megabits per second, the demand is growing. “How we describe it is it will be like you are sitting at Starbucks with your smartphone, your computer and your iPad,” Greer replied.
Since there is an increasing demand for inflight wifi by customers, there is a need to upgrade the service. Airbus published a report regarding the comfort demands of Asian passengers. It highlighted that in the future, Asian business customers will expect wifi to be available on their flights as well as phone and conference calling provisions.
A survey was also conducted from 3,000 passengers from the United States, Britain and Singapore. It was found that nearly 90 percent of them would be willing to give up a comfort, such as drinks, if they could have fast, consistent wifi. The problem arises when planes fly over large bodies of water. Connectivity is a problem with these long-haul flights. When this occurs, a satellite network is required.
Inmarsat launched the first of three satellites in December of last year. They will serve the GX network. Air China will test it first, on its A330 planes in 2015. Singapore Airlines, also plans to equip its planes with the hardware by 2015. Lufthansa has said that it, too, would allow inflight wifi on all of their planes by the middle of this year. Even budget airlines are joining in the wifi super ‘airway’. Thai budget airline Nok Air will supply its new Boeing 737 aircrafts with wifi.
General manager of aviation navigation company, Peter Jeppesen, has said that the technology could also be beneficial to cockpit and airport operation. “If you have something that you need to repair, you can get the status check to the ground level so they can be prepared so they can actually do the maintenance quicker,” Andersson stated. “You can reduce the turnaround and maintenance (of airplanes) dramatically.”
Wifi is the thing that connects the world! Now, even while flying around it, you’ll be able to check your emails! As always, if you have any sensible comments regarding this story, please leave your comments in the section below.
[Image via jetsettimes]